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Methodological Challenges and Opportunities in Studying Young People’s Activism

Thursday 25 July 2024, 16:00 – 17:30 BST / 17:00 – 18:30 CEST


Jennifer Earl University of Delaware

Jo Howard University of Sussex
Bruno Cautrès Sciences Po Paris

Susana Salgado University of Lisbon
Sebastian Koehler King's College London



This instalment of our House Series unpicks the complexities of researching youth engagement in social movements. It explores the value of existing methodologies in navigating inherent challenges and enhancing the quality of research.

The lecture

Research on the engagement of young people in social movements often dispels popular myths about their political inactivity, and sometimes even challenges implicit assumptions that researchers hold about youth.

Overcoming this often requires finding ways to observe or extract information on young people’s engagement and the social, political, and media contexts in which engagement – and any disengagement – exists.

In this talk, Jennifer Earl discusses how a range of existing methods can be used to accomplish these goals and sheds light on some of the challenges of conducting such research.

The lecture will also examine the essential role that young people themselves play in interactive methods, such as interviewing, since collaborating with younger researchers may result in better-quality data.

Free and open to all

All instalments in our House Series are FREE to attend and open to scholars from ECPR member and non-member institutions. 

Jennifer Earl

Jennifer Earl

Jennifer Earl is Chair and Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware.

Her research focuses on social movements, information technologies, and the sociology of law, with emphasis on youth activism, internet activism, social movement repression, and legal change.

Jennifer has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for research on web activism from 2006 – 2011. She was also a member of the MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics, and co-authored with Katrina Kimport, Digitally Enabled Social Change (MIT Press, 2013).

Her current projects include a co-authored monograph on historical shifts in protest policing best practices in the US, theoretical investigations of digital repression and the broader terrain of political repression, and an empirical investigation of youth participation in protest events in the US historically and today.

Susana Salgado

Susana Salgado

Susana Salgado is Principal Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, where she coordinates competitively funded research projects and teaches at the PhD programme in Comparative Politics. She had previously held positions at the New University of Lisbon and at the University of Oxford, as well as visiting positions in Brazil, Italy, and Australia.

Susana’s main research interests include political communication, democracy and democratization processes, populism, as well as the impact of different types of media on democratic politics. Susana’s work has a strong interdisciplinary perspective, and her approaches to these topics have been mainly comparative and mixed methods.

Sebastian Koehler

Sebastian Koehler

Sebastian Koehler is Lecturer in Political Economy at the Department of Political Economy, King's College London and proud father of a lovely daughter. He had previously held positions at the Center for Data and Methods, University of Konstanz (2017-2021) and the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science (2014-2017).

Sebastian's main research interests are in Political Economy and Political Science. He focuses on understanding the role of institutions and their impact on strategic interactions in politics, in particular regarding lobbying, legislative politics, as well as bargaining and political decision-making. He emphasises a strong connection between formal theory and empirical analysis. Methodologically, he is interested in network analysis and methods of causal inference.

Jo Howard


Jo Howard is a Research Fellow and Leader of the Participation, Inclusion and Social Change Cluster at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. She also co-convenes the Master’s programme in Participation, Power and Social Change.

Jo's work is focused on participatory and action research processes with people living in poverty and marginalisation. Additionally, Jo designs, delivers and advises on training and learning processes in Participatory Research and reflective and collaborative learning.

Bruno Cautrès


Bruno Cautrès is attached to CEVIPOF – Centre de recherches politiques de Sciences Po (Paris), at the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques in Paris.

He is a senior CNRS research fellow with interests in voting behaviour, political attitudes and behaviours, comparative survey research and quantitative techniques.

Bruno is involved in a variety of projects, including the European Social Survey, European Values Studies, International Social Survey Programme and European elections studies; and he participates in the development of elections studies in France. His current research programme concerns political trust and attitudes to democracy in France.


How to participate

The House Series is FREE to attend and open to scholars from all institutions. Registration is required and you'll need a My ECPR account to register.

To participate:

  1. Register for the House Series
  2. The lecture will be automatically added to your itinerary
  3. Your itinerary is available through My Events in MyECPR
  4. A link to join the session will appear in your itinerary 15-minutes before the start of the session


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